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AV Rant #517: Worst Buy

December 16th, 2016 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Andrew, Joshua, and Mark for their donations, as well as: Terry G., for telling Accessories4Less that his Marantz SR6011 purchase was because of our recommendation; Bob, for tweeting EMP Tek that we recommended their Impression Series speakers; David F., for letting MountDirect.com know we sent him their way; and Byron S., who mentioned AV Rant in his review of the SVS Ultra Bookshelf speakers.

In the news, John M. gave us a heads up about Sony launching OLED TVs in 2017. Emotiva Airmotiv Series Subwoofers were added to their lineup not even a week after their BasX Series. HDMI LLC made a new HDMI 2.0b spec official, which adds HLG. And Nathan D., Infinite Gary, and Heath B. all pointed out that the Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player is now available.

Jeff G. dropped us a comment saying he’s sad to see his Denon AVR-X4000 Receiver go, but his new AVR-X4300H and 7.2.4 setup sounds awesome!

Ted M. asks about some of our favorite movies of 2016, and he discovered that hearing a whole extra octave of deep bass revealed some unevenness from seat to seat, so he wonders if there’s a fix. Mark O. asks about LG’s affordable HDR LCD TVs vs. Vizio, and we suggest it’s worth holding out for the Vizio M-Series. And Mike F. has a large, open theater area and doesn’t want to bother his family while they’re sleeping, so he asks about nearfield subwoofer placement and eventual dual subwoofer options and positions.

Troy T. wasn’t satisfied with his bass after running Audyssey MultEQ and wants to know why it doesn’t offer greater control. Infinite Gary asks about the current top performing $10,000 projectors, so we discuss the JVC DLA-X950R, Epson LS10500, and Sony VPL-VW365ES. We also talk about sealed vs. ported Center speakers. And Jack R. wants us to explain what we think about Paradigm speakers in general, and how they compare to the sound of other speakers.

David F. wants to know more about tilting a projector, which leads to a discussion about keystoning and keystone correction. He also asks about DIY absorption panel placement. Heath B. reached out to GiK Acoustics for room advice, and we end up disagreeing with what they said regarding subwoofer placement. And Jonathan F. wants a sure-fire way to improve the slap echoes caused by his vaulted ceiling, so we suggest flattening it with either a drop tile ceiling or Auralex Sustain Diffusors.

John W. wants our recommendations for power protection. Our go-to brand is APC, so we mention their APC P8V Surge Protector, APC Back-UPS Battery Backup, APC H-Type Power Conditioner, and APC J25B and J35B AV Battery Backup units. Sam P. was warned away from buying an LG OLED TV and told to buy a Sony LCD instead by a Best Buy “expert”. We weigh in on the reasons given. And Brian “brain” A. has a new plan for his great room after talking with his builder and vendor. We recommend KEF in-wall speakers, GoldenEar on-wall speakers, SnapAV speakers, and a cylinder sub for his consideration.

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AV Rant #516: Tom’s Stupid Computer

December 11th, 2016 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Steve, James B., and Sigmond, who all sent donations, as well as Fred T. and Michael I. who both told Ascend Acoustics that they bought speakers thanks to AVRant, and also Bill C. for mentioning us to Parts-Express, and Terry G. for dropping our name to Silver Ticket.

If anyone in the San Diego area needs a flat panel display mounted or some other AV installation services, Steve’s company is MediaVerge, and he’d love to help out.

In the news, Emotiva BasX Subwoofers come in three sizes at affordable prices. Netflix Downloads let you pre-load iOS and Android devices with content for offline viewing. Plex for Kodi add-on means harmony between the two interfaces, and the Plex Media Player is now free for everyone. And Cyberlink PowerDVD is certified to play UltraHD Blu-ray.

Nathan D. found that getting a Marantz SR6010 Receiver is a headache, but ultimately Marantz is standing behind their product. And Josh S. got a killer deal on a Vizio D-Series TV plus a Vizio SoundBar for under $200 total!

Matt G. gets our recommendation for an HSU VTF-3 Mk5 HP Subwoofer for his open concept room, as well as a list of AV Receivers that offer Atmos capability and Audyssey MultEQ XT32. Steve W. gets our thoughts on dual subwoofer placement, and we also discuss his idea of putting artwork on the back of a projection screen and physically flipping the screen around whenever the projector is not in use. PJ now has 5.1.2 capability, and he wants to know which Atmos speaker positions will sound the best. And Aiden C. wants to reduce the echo in his garage, so we suggest Acoustimac Acoustic Baffles, Acoustic Ceiling Tiles, and GiK Spot Panels as potential solutions.

Matt asks about stacking subwoofers to get better pressurization, and we suggest the Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE speakers for expanding his system beyond 5.1. Brian “Brain” A. has an open space, a strict budget, and a desire for a projection setup with surround sound. We tackle placement ideas and offer some speaker suggestions, such as: HSU HIW-1 in-walls, EMP Tek Impression Series, SVS Prime Elevation, and Monoprice Caliber in-ceiling speaker with backer boxes. And Bret R. is having an audio problem that we think can be fixed in the settings for his streaming apps, although a Marantz SlimLine Receiver from Accessories4Less could also do the trick.

Will T. asked about an inexpensive SPL Meter that does not appear to offer C-weighting. We suggest the Triplett TSC-MC1 SPL Meter instead, or the Dayton Audio iMM-6 Microphone combined with an iOS or Android SPL Meter App. Dave wants to know how any speaker manufacturer stays in business when there are so many. Vince H. wants our thoughts on the timbre match between Ascend Acoustics SE-Series speakers and Sierra Series speakers. And Michael I. asks how to increase his sense of spaciousness and soundstage width, as well as the best way to position his Surround speakers.

Toby H. gets our thoughts on the best use of dual subs when you only have one seat. Yuri K. is trying to decide between an HDR flat panel and an HDR projector. And Paul B. gets our recommendation for the Vizio SB4051-C SoundBar up in Canada.

Nathan D. thinks he’d like to use an analogue audio connection between his Oppo UltraHD Blu-ray player and his Receiver, but an AVS Forum thread about Oppo bass management has him worried. Infinite Gary read A Matter of Diffusion from 28 years ago, and he wonders if anything has changed. Gary also gets Rob to weigh in on a particular movie scene in 5.1 vs. Dolby Surround, as well as our prediction on laser 4K projector pricing. And David F. gets some clarification on figuring out exactly where to place Atmos speakers on his ceiling.

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AV Rant #515: Interview with Gary Yacoubian from SVS

December 9th, 2016 No comments

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AVRant Podcast had the opportunity to interview Gary Yacoubian, President and CEO of SVS (www.SVSound.com).

We talk about their new SVS 16-Ultra Series subwoofers, their recently launched SVS Prime Elevation speakers, what exciting new products might be coming next, as well as questions directly from our AVRant Listeners!

A video version is available on our YouTube page under the title: AVRant #515: SVS Interview Dec 2016.

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AV Rant #514: Subwoofer or Center Speaker

December 3rd, 2016 No comments

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Our Listener of the Week is Chris S. for letting EMP Tek know that he heard about them from AV Rant.
Infinite Gary saw Audioholics’ video of the Martin Logan demo room and thought it sounded terrible. And Justin B. (and Rob) confirm that a new Marantz firmware update allows Dolby Surround Upmixer to work on DTS signals, and DTS Neural:X Upmixer to work on Dolby signals.
Josh S. wants an affordable TV with good sound, so we suggest the combo of a Vizio D-Series TV with a Vizio C or D SoundBar. Jonathan F. prods us to rant about a Lumin D1 Audiophile Network Music Player review. And Bobby K. asks about Audyssey Low Frequency Containment and any other methods to avoid bothering the neighbors.
Matt G. asks about using dual subwoofers in an open concept room, as well as matching sealed subs with ported subs. Anand wants us to speculate about the future of quantum dots vs. OLED. And Monty N. tries to sort through IPS vs. VA LCD panels, 60Hz vs. 120Hz refresh rates, screen size vs. price, OLED burn-in, calibrating his image, the Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player price point, and how ATSC 3.0 tuners will work with PCs.
David F. needs some help setting up his BenQ HT2050 projector and will likely need an ultra low-profile projector ceiling mount. Greg F. and Tara both ask for our thoughts on LG’s Super UHD TVs and get our recommendations for Vizio P-Series, Sony X930D Series, Vizio M-Series, and Samsung KS8000 Series more or less in that order. And Charleston L. wants to know if he’d be better off with four lower output subwoofers or two higher output subwoofers.
Greg P. upgraded to four subwoofers and wants to know if he needs to run Audyssey again. He also wants to know if it makes sense to use a smaller projection screen so that he can better place his flat panel and seating, and whether he should rearrange his subwoofers, as well. Justin B. wants to shop for $2000/pair speakers at Amazon, so we suggest: KEF R300, Dali Opticon 2, Paradigm Signature S2, Martin Logan Motion 35XT, and NHT C 3. And Chris S. gets our suggestion to use AudioCheck.net to make a bass sweep when doing the subwoofer crawl, as well as our thoughts on whether he should upgrade his subwoofer or his Center speaker next.

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AV Rant #513: On, In, and Around

November 25th, 2016 No comments

PrintHappy Thanksgiving! Our Listeners of the Week are Bret, Fab, and Alan for their generous donations!

With Tom away this week, Lee Overstreet fills in once again.

Karl R. shared some hyperbole-filled coverage of the opening of the Devialet flagship retail store. Chad T. noticed and interesting use of the black bars on the 3D release of Ghostbusters. And Heath B. found the Projector Central HDR-compatibility article enlightening.

Grant M. asks about suede-covered absorption panels from Acoustimac and Acoustical Solutions, as well as options for speakers that will work well laying horizontally inside a TV stand, such as the KEF Q-Series and Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE. Infinite Gary gets the scoop on how we put together our AVRant YouTube videos, as well as our thoughts on a lone Center speaker vs. multi-speaker mono, and what’s up with speaker prices in Canada. And Johnny D. wants to know what a variable iris does in a projector, and is itching to upgrade, although we think he should wait for the Epson Home Cinema 5040UB.

Christian S. loves his new EMP Tek speakers, but he wants to know where to set the crossover and why all of his other speakers seem to sound better, too. John J. needed an SVS cylinder subwoofer manual for discontinued models, and some tips on connections and using an inexpensive SPL Meter, or a professionally calibrated SPL Meter from Cross-Spectrum Labs. And Jonathan F. gets us to compare and contrast the SVS SB-1000 vs. the HSU VTF-1 Mk3 subwoofers.

Nick B. gets our recommendation for a Monoprice Blackbird HDMI Switch with Audio Extraction. Josh Pollard is also looking for an HDMI matrix switch, although what he really needs is an HD Fury. We also discuss HDR streaming video services on the Xbox One S. And Fab F. wants to know if it’s ok to build a subwoofer into a wall in order to save floor space.

Jason S. asks if the included microphones that come with Audyssey-enabled Receivers are truly good enough to get the job done. Michael S. gets us to recommend AudioEngine self-powered speakers and the JBL LSR305 Studio Monitors to use with an Echo Dot. Bret R. wants a 4K HDR TV that can also serve as a computer monitor, and we think the Samsung KU7000 Series is the way to go. And Jefferson G. stumped us with a Chromecast Ultra HDCP 2.2 issue that we only know how to resolve by using an older Chromecast.

Corey B. isn’t as happy with his projected image as he used to be. We discuss Sherwin-Williams neutral paint, Screen Goo, and image settings, as well as older upmixing listening modes and why a bigger Center speaker doesn’t necessarily mean clearer dialogue. Alan L. is planning his basement theater. We talk about his layout, projector choices, and 7.2.4 wiring options; and also recommend the EMP Tek I-12 subwoofer, Outlaw Audio Ultra-X12 subwoofer, and Monoprice Caliber in-ceiling speakers with Monoprice Back Enclosures along with a Marantz SR6011 from Accessories4Less and a Dayton Audio APA100 or Emotiva A-500 Amplifier to power it all. Travelling IT Guy gets our thoughts on Vizio’s D-Series vs. their E-Series, and our suggestion to check out the HSU VTF-15H Mk2 and Power Sound Audio 15V subwoofers for a large room. And Ted M. is finally happy with his equipment choices, but now he’s bleeding sound into other rooms, so we discuss what can be done about that.

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